Watch CBS News

Shotgun Willie's lawyer George Stephen Long dies following night at club

A lawyer for the topless club Shotgun Willie's stopped breathing in the club parking lot three weeks ago and later died after an evening of drinking and unusual behavior, according to several witnesses.

George Stephen Long, 70, represented the strip club in various legal actions and was at the club the night of Sept. 30. According to a police report obtained by CBS News Colorado, Long got to the club around 8:30 p.m. and met with a female entertainer who played cards and had drinks with the attorney.

A videotape reviewed by Glendale police indicated Long had two or three drinks between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Stephen Long GSL Trial Lawyers

The female employee told police that Long seemed normal until just after 10 p.m. when she thought he seemed "to be presenting as extremely intoxicated very quickly."  One witness told police "they thought he had consumed mushrooms because it had seemed as though he was hallucinating."

Long wanted to leave the club and a manager, Matthew Dunafon, told police a club employee had taken Long home. Dunafon did not respond to a text message from CBS News Colorado.  But the employee said Long was "acting crazy" and "not making sense" so he returned to the club where "George stayed in his car and was monitored every 5-10 minutes," according to the police report. Dunafon told police that during one of the checks on Long they noticed he was unconscious and not breathing and called 911 at approximately 11:34 p.m. An officer reported that when he arrived in the parking lot, Long was not breathing or moving. Police said they attempted CPR on the attorney.

Paramedics transported Long to a hospital where he was pronounced dead a half hour later.

Long tried more than 90 jury trials in 19 states according to online information and appeared before five State Supreme Courts. He attended Harvard University where he obtained a degree in criminal justice. 

Former colleague Brad Hamilton remembered Long as an optimist, "As a trial lawyer, Steve had more than his share of big wins, and of course several tough losses, but he was an optimist. He usually viewed a tough loss or setback the way an entrepreneur would, always looking for the opportunity or alternative approach to getting a good outcome, and I never saw him lose confidence in himself or his skill as an advocate for his clients."

Hamilton said, "Steve seldom burned a bridge and maintained relationships with friends and adversaries alike."

Another colleague characterized Long as, "simply a force of nature."

At the time of his death, Long was defending the club in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died following an altercation at the club in 2019. That case is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Long's close friend and law partner, Mark Lukehart, told CBS News Colorado it was "very ironic" that Long died after a night at the club.

Lukehart remembered Long as "a very highly regarded attorney in Denver. He lit up a room."

He said when club employees put Long in his car, "They were trying to keep an eye on him." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.